Mexico hit by looting incited on social media

Stores and supermarkets in the Mexico City suburbs have been hit by a wave of looting organized on social media, authorities said Friday, after arresting more than 80 people.

The looting broke out Wednesday night and raged again on Thursday, as dozens of mostly masked men carted off TVs, toys and food.

“Security has been reinforced, as well as coordination between federal and municipal authorities. All robberies will be punished,” said the security service for the state of Mexico, which encircles the capital.

There were also reports of looting in the eastern state of Veracruz, where two people were arrested.

Police cyber-security experts are analyzing messages that went viral on social networks and smartphone messaging apps to try to identify those responsible for inciting the looting.

More than 800 police reinforcements have been sent to Mexico state, authorities said.

The looting echoed unrest that hit Mexico a year ago, when people angry over a gasoline price hike trashed service stations, torched buses, sacked stores and exchanged gunfire with police, leaving six people dead. (AFP)